Monster Monday: Grando the Carniolan Vampire

We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about Grando the Carniolan Vampire.

Bela Lugosi in Dracula (1931)
Bela Lugosi in Dracula (1931)

Jure Grando was from the village of Kringa in the region of Istria in modern-day Croatia. For sixteen years after his death by illness in 1656 he returned by night to terrorize the village. He knocked on the doors of his former neighbors, and if anyone answered the door, someone in the house would die within a week. He also appeared to his widow in her bed.

The priest who buried him when he died tried to exorcise his spirit, but it didn’t work. One night a group of villagers chased him and tried to stab him with a stake made from a hawthorn tree, but it bounced off him. The next night they dug up his body and found not only had it never decomposed, but Jure had a smile on his face. They tried to pierce his heard with a hawthorn stake again, but the stake wouldn’t penetrate his flesh.

Then the priest said another exorcism prayer and a villager took a saw and cut off Jure’s head. As soon as the saw blade touched his neck, Jure screamed and blood flowed freely from the cut. Afterward, Jure never returned.

Jure’s story is notable as it is the first time in a historical record that a once-living person was referred to specifically as a vampire.

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